Archive for September, 2009

It’s nearly time!

September 30, 2009

I’ve had a pretty suckish day, and as a result I’ve felt pretty crap. Just 8 months, that’s all I can keep telling myself…8 months.

CheerUpCharlie

Vegan Mofo starts tomorrow! Anyone else joining in this year? I’m quite excited for it, I have a whole bunch of recipes marked out to try – hoping they’ll all be successful! Anyone got any ideas for ‘themes’ this year? I’ve been looking at the PPK for inspiration, but am always up for new ideas!

The last couple of days I’ve been eating some mushroom stew with herb dumplings from the book Vegan Cookbook: Over 90 Mouthwatering Recipes for All Occasions that I made in food tech on monday. The stew was yummy – I love me some mushrooms! However my dumplings were not dumplings at all! More like extremely dense under cooked flour balls. My fault on two counts though. 1) I changed the recipe, replacing oil with apple sauce. 2) I undercooked them! I cooked them for the time stated by the book, but it turns out that wasn’t enough. I have no idea when you tell when a dumpling is cooked too. It’s a shame because dumplings used to be one of my favourite foods (before I went on a health kick). Either way, I haven’t ruled out making this dish again, I just need to tweak the dumpling recipe some more or find a different one.

stew n dumplings

Could it be…two great things combined?

September 28, 2009

You all know how much I love peanut butter – it’s the best! I also love bananas, I’m surprised they don’t find their way into my stomach all too often (save for bana brulee oatmeal!). However, what about…Banana-Peanut butter?! This is something inspired by Chocolate Covered Katie, so far all her recipes have been yum and this is no exception!

Don’t exclaim, ‘eugh!’ just yet though. If you like bananas, and peanut butter, this is something to get your teeth into!  If you’ve ever enjoyed a scrummy peanut butter and banana sandwich, this really is for you! Imagine having a spread which saves you the messyness of slicing up a banana, and if there’s any left, wondering what to do with the rest of it.

peanut butter banana spreadThis was hard work to make though. Although in theory it’s very simple – just throw everything into the blender – in practice it just ain’t so. For starters, my magic bullet simply couldn’t handle it, the mixtire was too thick. I had to keep adding soy milk every so often to get the blades to spin it. It’s hella hard to clean up afterwards too, even if you are a fan of licking out the blender!

I added some cinnamon to the spread too, though next time I will add some vanilla me thinks. One thing I hate about bananas though is their ‘I’m so cool I’m going to oxidise’ attitude. Even though I keep the spread in an airtight container in the fridge, The banana causes a darkening of the ‘exposed’ parts of the spread (Mainly the top, and air gaps at the bottom). It tastes fine though, I simply stir it up before I eat some. It tastes great as it is, I eat it right of the spoon, but I bet it’d be great on toast, or on pancakes, or anything else you like. It seems to thicken up in the fridge, so next time I’ll make it with more soya milk. In he end I used about 100g peanut butter, 1 banana and 70-100ml soya milk and cinnamon. Try it!

A day of food

September 27, 2009

I’ve been a busy little bumble bee today. Delivering papers and spending the rest of my time in the kitchen, cooking up not one, but 3 times! I’m fed up of washing up, that’s for sure. I haven’t has a ‘proper’ meal for a while now, so decided to break that today. In the full spirit of autumn, I made a hearty cauliflower topped stew. I guess it’s akin to a cottage or sheperd’s pie, but it didn’t feel like a cottage pie to me. Instead of mashed potatoes, I used mashed cauliflower, and had split peas and various other veg in the middle. I added some nutritional yeast to the cauliflower topping, and it made it extra yummy. My only adaptation I would make for next time is grilling it after it’s been in the oven for 20 minutes or so, to get a lovely crispy topping.

SN851244SN851255Actually, I was very surprised that none of the liquid from the filling seeped over the top, as usually happens when I make similar dishes. i guess I did something better this time! After a short interval when I’d finished eating, I rushed downstairs remembering what I had been meaning to make. I’ll leave this thing for my next post though, as I don’t want to bore you with so much food in one post!

After a quick stint in the pub and a short walk by the river with my mum, I decided it was soup time. I’d prepared for this by going to to the co-op earlier and grapping the veg they were selling off. So I made a swede, cauliflower, celery, leek and onion soup, with some spinach blended in because well… Why not? I still have to say the best veggie soups have butternut squash in, but the only one they had today looked more like an orange courgette – it was rather pathetic.

SN851259That’s a lotta soup! I got 7 portions from todays batch. And, would you believe that this entire bowl is only 500 calories. Wow, I don’t think I’d even get through half of it before bursting. So to all you dieters out there – there you go, home made soup for the win!

Autumn is here

September 25, 2009

Autumn is really making itself known; crisp, fresh mornings, early darkness, the crunch of dead leaves and of course, conkers. I do love autumn for all these reasons, I find it so beautiful, and especially on days like today where it is still warm enough to not feel a chill at all. I wish I was a young child again so I could crash through massive piles of leaves and have conker fights – those were the good days! I might actually try and get my family to go for a walk in the nearby woods soon while it’s not too cold. Though it also means winter is round the corner, and I really suffer in winter, which does remind me, I need to buy a coat!

I’ve struggled with tofu marinades since forever, they’ve never produced the taste I wanted. I put this down to making the marinades myself, so to counter this I bought a bottle of teriyaki marinade. It made the tofu so yummy! It would have gone great for tofu and veg skewers, or in a stirfry, but today I was boring and had just baked slices of tofu with roast veggies.

SN851223It would have been perfect if I had had time to cook the tofu for longer. I’m glad I’ve finially been successful in marinades though.

I’m also really excited to say I won RandomlyMikey’s giveaway! Thanks for hosting the giveaway, Mikey!

One last thing from me today, this song has really captured my heart and amused me, I’m weird enough to admit I have watched it more than once.

Wazza, Mofo?

September 23, 2009

Is it only in my school where there was a phase where everyone would end their sentance with mofo?

Anyway, I am talking about a different mofo today; VeganMoFo (vegan Month of Food), which is a world wide month of blogging that creates awareness of the yummyness of vegan food. More information can be found here. I’m very excited for it! I’m going to use it as an excuse to (attempt to) bake delicious treats, and to blow the dust of the couple of vegan recipe books I have floating around. I have some ideas for themes, too. The idea is to post every weekday or 20 times in the month of october, however I reckon some of the weekday posts will be moved to weekend posts. My birthday is in october as well, so hopefully I’ll manage to whip up some birthday treats for MoFo.

vmofo

I’ve had a particually bad day today. Just one of those days where I’ve felt blah and crap, all I wanted to do all day is get home and get under the duvet. I hate feeling like this. I got a letter from my doctor the other day, telling me I have a 5-6 week wait for the counselling for my depression, which is quick overall, but still oh so long when you’re desperate.

I’ve had one rather successful endeavour this week; Bean Balls! They smelt sosososo good and tasted nice too, especially with the tomato-peanut sauce I had them with. They were basically mashed up kidney beans with onion, garlic and nutritional yeast binded with egg replacer. I’ve never tried using egg replacer for actual binding, but was impressed with the results; there was a notable difference from when I tried to make bean burgers without a binder. They still need a little work to get the ultimate cooking time and flavour though, maybe something for MoFo?

bean ballsAnd there is still a bit of time to enter Randomly Mikey’s giveaway! Check out her blog anyway 🙂

Kale? No thanks!

September 21, 2009

I’ve come to the conclusion that I dislike kale. I will eat it, but it isn’t the most palatable of vegetables for me. I’ve tried it in salads, in stews, raw, and finally as crisps. Not keen on it at all. It was quite nice in the stew, though… It’s a shame because kale is one of those ‘super foods’, but I’ll stick with spinach, thanks.

Today to use up the last of the kale I decided to make some kale crisps/chips, since everyone else seems to be doing it.

SN851222I tried marinating them in a mix of red wine vingar, garlic powder and paprika and sprinkled them with salt before baking. They still tasted somewhat nasty. Actually, I burnt the second batch, they were smoking when I opened the oven door. Those ones tasted even worse. I give up with kale.

I found out I’m going to Alton Towers theme park on october 19th – I can’t wait! ‘Saw’ (The thriller/horror movie) ride here I come! We’re talking about a vertical drop here, it’ll be great!

My dinner was particually yum today, I made something like a stew with some soya/TVP chunks. I found out how to make them not-so-chewy, since last time I used these they were on the chewy side (but I liked that). The secret? Simmer them for longer! Once they’ve been rehydrated with boiling water, simmer them in whatever for at least 25 minutes.

SN851212

Banana’s and Coffee

September 20, 2009

Well, today was the first day of my new job, and I have to say I enjoyed it a lot. I was told I would be doing mainly washing up on thursday, but I didn’t do a single piece! I made drinks, numerous cups of coffe (hence the title), took food to customers and cleared tables, along with a few other bits and pieces. I learnt to use the coffee machine, which was kinda fun, though I’m sure the novelty will wear off soon. I can also use the milk steamer now, I feel like I’m ready to work at Starbuck’s, ha. They even have a really awesome orange juicer, it’s like it’s been made for a show, it makes orange juice seem so cool. There are a few perks of working there, too. We get a staff discount, and get to help ourselves to drinks whenever we want. So tins of cola, local pressed apple juice, Big T Spicey tomato juice, bottled eldeflower and similar drinks, all the tins, hot drinks ect, which is pretty good, considering the bottled drinks are usually expensive. We also get to help ourself to bread, and in the afternoon you can have scones, cream, cake ect. We get a free lunch, too. They also have soy milk, so I may indulge in a nice drink next week :D. Life is good! I know some of the people there, from school, and there were about 4 others around my age there, so I fitted right in.

To prepare myself for my big day, I decided I needed a special breakfast. Now, I’ve been meaning to make Katie’s Banana Brulee oatmeal for a while since it seems everyone else seems to be doing it, and finally I did it today. All I can say is WOW. It was so yummy. I could have eaten it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I made the addition of dark chocolate chips and it made it so good, they went all melty and blened in. I also added a teaspoon of sugar. It was very filling, and kept me going for hours, I never actually got hungry before I had lunch – and we had a rather late lunch, too. I think though I was so busy that my brain had no time to register any hunger I may have had.

SN851206Katie is also holding yet another amazing giveaway, if you wanna win some Amazing Grass goodies, check it out.

Goodbye, Sundays

September 18, 2009

Soooo yesterday I went in for my interview and I have a paid trial on sunday! Assuming all goes well, I’ll have a job every sunday, and the odd saturday and during the holidays. Yay! I even got a shirt! (Geek moment). I haven’t done this before, so when I was given the aplication form to fill in I kinda did it wrong. Oh well, I know for next time. I’ll only be washing up at first, but even my mother doesn’t get paid for doing the washing up :P. Then later I’ll do things like clearing tables and taking orders and giving out menues. I’m excited! No, it’s not the most exciting job I could possibly have, but I’m so glad to have a job and I should have a good time.

And with typically, as I would expect to happen to me, as soon as I get this job, my friends invite me out on sunday. My friends never invite me out, let alone on a sunday, so I’m a bit peeved. But they didn’t even know I was working so it’s not their fault at all.

I’ve also realised, I won’t get my sunday lie in anymore! Not that I particually got one anyway, but still! I’ll have to move it to saturday, which is probably actually better because I go to bed earlier on a sunday.

One Frugal Foodie is hosting a very nice giveaway, too! For your chance to win 1 of 9 cookbooks, give her a look!

Up and down…all around

September 16, 2009

The last few days have really been a roller coaster. I finally went to the doctors about my insomnia, and came out with depression. I’ve been feeling really down and out of it for months. I’ve felt so isolated, bored, irritable, tired and so full of rage. I’ve just been drifting. It’s kinda complicated…Anyway, because of my age, I can’t have anti Ds (1 and a half more months till I can though), but I did get referred to councelling. At first I kinda regretted going to the doctors about the whole thing, because I just felt like I was being over dramatic and stupid. But I’ve stewed it over today, and I’ve decided the councelling will help me sort out my mind.

Anyway, boring depressing stuff aside, I may just have landed a job. The guy from the chippy never gave me a call, and I can’t be bothered to go and see him again, so that jobs a no-go. However, I was having a conversation with a friend, and found out the local farm cafe might be hiring some new people. I phoned up and asked if they wanted any weekend staff, and I’ve got an interview tomorrow! Yay money!

I also found another use for my excessive pile of kale:

SN851199A kinda stew thing…I’m not too sure what it is. I used some timmed tomatoes, sprouted beans, onion, mushroom and kale and served it with a rye flake pilaf. It certainly filled a spot :D. Cooked kale lacks the bitterness that it’s raw counterpart has, so that’s a good thing.

By the way, did you know it’s only 107, Days. 5, Hours. 51, Minutes untill Christmas!

September 13, 2009

Today we went to Old Orleans for our lunch, ever so slightly influenced by the fact that if you sign up on their website you get £10 off your bill. In terms of vegan food, I did have a bit of choice. I was thinking about getting the bean chilli, but that’s only available week days *grumble*. I could only have got it as a starter over crispy potato skins. But either way, I fancied fries. They have a veggie burger which comes with chips, but I dunno if that has egg in it or not. So I decided to make myself a meal out of side dishes, it comes out at the same cost as a proper meal yet I get a bit of everything. I had BBQ beans, fries, steamed veggies and cajun fried mushrooms. OMG the mushrooms were to die for! I could have eaten 100s of the things. Yum-ity-yum. The resteraunt was so quiet, a complete opposite to when we went to Frankie and Bennys a few weeks ago on a sunday. We got a complimentry bowl of pop corn upon being seated, but it was butter flavoured. Even before I was vegan, salted popcorn always had one hundred up on buttered popcorn.

I came across a large bunch of kale in one of our trips to the farm shop the other day, and I’m a little over whelmed by it. What can I do with so much kale? I made a kale salad for my lunch tomorrow tonight (I like to prepare my school lunch the night before), I’ll probably have some steamed kale with my dinner some nights, but I’d love to use it in recipes (quick recipes, mind). Any ideas? I don’t fancy a kale smoothie.

I’m finally going to book an appointment with my GP about my sleeping tomorrow. I hate getting so little sleep.